BORP Fitness Studio Highlight: Sheila Cain

Sheila Cain has been active all her life. As a young person, she loved to down-hill ski. In her junior year as an undergrad at UC Berkeley, she took a self-guided year abroad. Based in Grenoble France, she waited tables at night so she could ski all day. It was a great adventure! However, on a trip to Algiers, she acquired a spinal cord injury.

Sheila Cain

Sheila holds many distinctions in life. She traveled the world as an airline stewardess and raised two sons. She’s an accomplished watercolor painter, and serves on the board of the California Watercolor Association. She was instrumental in creating the graphics that went out to potential funders of the Ed Roberts Campus (ERC) and ultimately helped ERC get the funding needed to build our great space. She also lives closer to the ERC than perhaps any other BORP participant—her front door is a stone’s throw from the back parking lot!

After what seemed to be a remarkable recovery from her 1970 injury, Sheila, a high functioning C3 4 quad, found herself in her early 30’s with declining health. She began using a cane to get around, then two walking sticks, and has needed physical therapy on an ongoing basis. These days she uses a combination of her wheelchair and walker to get where she needs to go. “Once you’re in a wheelchair,” Sheila says, “you’ve got to find ways to keep moving.” Fortunately, BORP has been able to her help do that.

Frequent stops at the ERC to meet with various providers afforded her the chance to pass by BORP’s Fitness Studio. In 2017, she noticed the Wednesday noon yoga class and has been a regular student ever since. Says Sheila, “Erik (who teaches Restorative Yoga on Wednesdays from 12pm to 1pm) gives us active poses followed by restorative poses. He’s very good at figuring out what the class needs. He comes up with imagery that is provocative and really sticks with you.” At the start of this year, and at her prodding, a seated Tai Chi class was added to the BORP Fitness schedule, allowing Sheila the chance to attend back-to-back classes. A student of Tai Chi off and on since the early 1980s, Sheila appreciates the coordination and fine motor movements required of the class. “Ralf (who teaches on Seated Tai Chi on Wednesdays 10:30-11:30) does a great job with that group!” You can find Sheila in class most Wednesdays. While you’re there, ask to see the graphics for the beautiful postcard she created!